Goodbye Summer

September 07, 1992

The summer of '92 was certainly a cool one. Just how cool was it? (We would ask The Great Karnak, but he retired at the start of the summer.)

It was the third coolest summer, and the coolest August, in the 42 years such records have been kept at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The average temperature at BWI last month was 72.3 degrees, six-tenths of a degree less than the previous record set in 1963. (Baltimore recorded temperatures for this summer slightly above average, because the city retains more heat than the countryside around the airport.) Rainfall remained below normal for summer in Central Maryland, although what precipitation we did receive seemed to fall mostly on the weekends.

So what has all this cooler weather wrought?

For one, it has contributed to great fishing on the bay. With less need for air conditioning, electric use was down about 2 percent from the norm and down 9 percent from last summer, in spite of all the time we ran the television to watch the Olympics and the political conventions. Compared to some recent steamy summers, lawns and gardens weren't as stressed, and ragweed counts have been down some, although not as much as allergy sufferers would hope. (Of course, due to the cool nights, folks are more inclined to leave open their windows, which in turn aggravates their allergies and offsets any benefits of reduced pollen.)

Maryland farmers should reap a better harvest than they did following 1991's Dust Bowl of a summer, albeit only slightly, according to state agriculture officials. And the cooler, damper days naturally were no boon to the seaside merchants of Ocean City, who moaned of sluggish sales.

About the only thing seemingly not affected by this summer's record-setting chill was the record-breaking attendance at the new ballpark at Camden Yards. The home nine generated the fever there all by themselves.

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